Purity and Judgment in Morality

Philosophy 63 (246):453 - 469 (1988)
Abstract
There are some people whose actions are much more often good than evil. If their infrequent immorality does not cause much harm, it is reasonable to regard such people as morally good. Nevertheless, moral goodness remains an elusive quality, because it is difficult to identify good actions. Motives, consequences, knowledge of alternatives and of the conventions prevailing in the context, the agent's history, character, and information all have a bearing on whether particular actions are good. These facts are not easy to ascertain in any case, but when we are looking for a pattern formed of countless good actions over a lifetime, the difficulties are compounded
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100043795
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